Surface transportation authorization extension likely

July 16, 2020

Land Line Staff


Without a highway bill close to the finish line, all signs point to the surface transportation authorization, which is set to expire Sept. 30, being extended into 2021.

“Predicting ‘what’s next’ in D.C. has become a fool’s errand, but we’re hearing from both sides of the Capitol that an extension is likely at this point,” Collin Long, OOIDA’s director of government affairs, said. “The window for getting something done before the Sept. 30 expiration is extremely narrow, especially if the Senate gets nervous about their election prospects and shifts their focus to getting as many judicial nominations confirmed as possible before the end of the year.”

In June, a nearly $500 billion highway bill was rolled into the $1.5 trillion Moving Forward Act. The merger quickly cemented the legislation proposed by House Democrats as partisan.

 On July 1, full House passed the bill with a 233-188 vote, but Senate Republicans had already called the legislation dead on arrival.

“This so-called infrastructure bill would siphon billions in funding from actual infrastructure to funnel into climate change policies,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a news release.

“No wonder it came out of committee in the House on a purely partisan vote. No wonder the White House has declared it ‘not a serious proposal’ and made it clear this will never become law. So naturally, this nonsense is not going anywhere in the Senate. It will just join the list of absurd House proposals that were only drawn up to show fealty to the radical left.”

OOIDA viewed the original highway bill, the INVEST in America Act, as promising and supported the bill. OOIDA specifically touted provisions for increased funding for highway construction, $250 million for truck parking projects, new restrictions on tolling, limits to excessive detention time and predatory lease-to-own schemes, and further analysis on H-1B visa use within the trucking industry.

However, the Association withdrew its support when the House added an amendment that would more than double the minimum insurance requirement for motor carriers from $750,000 to $2 million.

“This amendment will do absolutely nothing to improve safety on our highways,” OOIDA President and CEO Todd Spencer said. “What this proposal will do is destroy small trucking businesses in every corner of the country.”